I remember the hopelessness I felt about a year ago at this time. There was a raging virus circulating that had no cure or effective treatment; it was spreading uncontrollably; our government efforts were being undermined by toadies and incompetents, led by a president who talked of injecting bleach or shining ultraviolet light into your body as treatments; and I despaired. I couldn’t believe any of it — that I was in an actual global pandemic, that my life plans were going down the dumper, that so many of the things I took for granted were now gone.
One thing I definitely did not expect was that there would be an effective vaccine — heck, a number of them — less than a year later. I’ve spent a few years editing health care news and am familiar with how long it typically takes to develop vaccines, even when everything went right and the effort was well-funded. The gap ranges from several years to never. I put my thin hopes into the development of an effective treatment instead.
Yet here I am, two weeks after receiving the second dose of the remarkably effective Pfizer vaccine, and I now am considered fully vaccinated. I doubt most of us will ever truly understand what a miracle this is, especially given the stunning first-pass effectiveness of this and a number of its alternatives. It’s unprecedented and it’s saved millions of lives already.
This pandemic is far from over, of course. Most of the world has no access to a vaccine yet, and a pretty good chunk won’t have it at this time next year, either. But its deepest, darkest dangers are probably over for me, at least for now. I lived through a pandemic.